Becoming a Health Coach

1 Nov

As the author of a blog focused  (mostly) on integrating a healthy lifestyle into a normal social life, it probably comes as little surprise that I’m interested in expanding my horizons.

 After over a year of closely following the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I’ve enrolled in the health coaching program they offer. I love what I’ve seen for many reasons, but I especially love that this is a part-time, online program. I really enjoy my current job and have no plans to change it, so I’m thrilled I can pursue this passion on the side while I continue to develop my career as a sales trainer.

Reasons I’ve decided to work towards a health coaching certificate:

  • Fierce desire to deepen my own knowledge and understanding of the different dietary philosophies out there
  • Even more fierce desire to help others make heads or tails of it – conflicting information leads to confusion (is dairy ok or do I avoid it? Am I supposed to eat meat or not? Are carbs “bad”?) and, ultimately, frustration and defeat.

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  • Fascination with concept of “primary foods”. Of course the foods we actually eat fuel us (some better than others), but there’s more to the story. Career, spirituality, relationships, physical activity – these are all “primary foods” we consume day in and day out just by existing. Is it not reasonable to admit these have a profound impact on our overall health?

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  • Fear & sadness around mainstream menus. We see so many meal options comprised of 2 proteins and 2 refined carbohydrates on a plate, and in the world as we currently know it eating well is a luxury afforded by only the financially stable. (Basically, eating healthy doesn’t have to suck and no one should have to break the bank to do so.)
  • Belief that we should challenge ourselves to step outside of the “I have X symptom” -> “You need Y drug” mentality. Medications & treatments are incredibly vital, crucial and have their place. But medicine only takes us so far – examining those outside influences & factors in our lives can deeply impact our overall health.

What a Health Coach is not: 

I can’t help but notice a number of misconceptions floating around about what health coaches really do; or rather, do not do. And, I get it – the word “health” is in there, so people assume we’re running around with stethoscopes and the authority to prescribe. Some people cannot fathom how someone with a year’s worth of studies and a certificate can be considered an authority of any kind.

A health coach is not a doctor. I will not be handing out medical advice or even pretend I know what types of medical conditions someone might be up against (although I will take anybody on in a WebMD search-off.) In fact, if at any point someone comes to me showing serious symptoms or hints at underlying issues, I’ll be glad to point them in the right direction. But I will never, ever hand out medical advice.

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Main objectives for my mission: 

  • Take on a listening role, helping clients uncover “dots” and urging them to connect them. Health is a complex web, and identifying factors that impact health (positively or negatively) is key. Ultimately I’ll strive to ask questions to help the client discover a fuller, more colorful picture of life all on his/her own.
  • Share best practices for integrating healthy choices into a happy, “normal” life. Much like the mission of this blog, I used to “diet” on and off. It wasn’t until I found a system that works for me always that I found true success. I hope to help others discover their upbeat eating style.

I’ll begin seeing clients 6 months from now, but in the meantime I’m looking to practice some initial (free, duh) consultations! Please hunt me down if you’d be willing – upbeateatsblog at gmail dot com. It’s simple and can even be done over email if you’re afraid I’m a health nut weirdo.

Oh, also, this.

We went as Sonic the Hedgehog & Tails for Halloween this past weekend. I enjoyed throwing rings at people and disappearing off the screen on the levels that did not require flying capabilities.

Your turn! What do you think of “primary foods”, ie external factors in our lives, impacting our health along with the foods we consume? Did you dress up this year?

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4 Responses to “Becoming a Health Coach”

  1. BarrAndTable November 1, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I love this and can’t wait to hear more about it! I’ve been considering enrolling for a little while now and I’m looking forward to finding out what you think of it. Good luck!

    • Steph @ Upbeat Eats November 1, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Thank you! I’ll definitely keep you posted and plan to write about my thoughts/lessons often!

  2. clarebrady November 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    AHH obviously totally catching up on your blog, but I’m so glad you enrolled!! Seems like you are doing it for the exact same reasons I did, and have a great awareness about what the program and coaching is. SO EXCITED!

    • Steph @ Upbeat Eats November 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

      Ahhh thank you Clare!! After following your IIN journey for so long and doing tons of research, it just really felt like it was my time to take the plunge! I’m just a couple weeks in but I’ll definitely be reaching out to you for some thoughts/pointers! Thanks for reading – Xo

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